By Tom Arnone, Monmouth County Freeholder Director
Hello, everyone! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend and was able to enjoy time with family and friends!
I, along with my fellow Freeholders, am proud to announce the eighth annual Made in Monmouth event on April 13th was an absolute success!
This year, more than 5,000 shoppers supported the event, which showcased more than 260 vendors who displayed and sold their locally-made products. From furniture and jewelry to pet products and gourmet specialty foods, there was truly a wide variety of items for attendees to choose from.
Serving as liaison to the Monmouth County Division of Economic Development, I take great pride in hosting events like Made in Monmouth. When I created this program shortly after I joined the Board of Chosen Freeholders, my goal was to focus my attention on small consumer product manufacturers located within Monmouth County to help them grow their businesses. As such, I’m happy to say the County has amassed a list of nearly 700 Made in Monmouth companies and counting!
Such an undertaking could not be done without the hard work of staff and volunteers who have helped grow this event year after year. I would like to thank them and let them know I look forward to their help and support during Made in Monmouth 2020!
My fellow Freeholders and I would also like to commend the hardworking students from Asbury Park and surrounding towns who participated in the Asbury Park Junior Entrepreneur Training [JET] Program. These students learned business and networking skills in the weeks leading up to Made in Monmouth by creating their own merchandise to sell the day of the event.
Additionally, my fellow Freeholders and I participated in Arbor Day celebrations throughout Monmouth County on April 12th. We visited numerous school districts to help plant trees donated from the County. It’s always fun to stop by different schools and on April 12th I was able to visit with Deal Elementary School, Thurgood Marshall Elementary School and Spring Lake Heights Elementary School during their individual celebrations.
As the liaison to the Monmouth County Shade Tree Commission, I want to thank the staff for their hard work and dedication, without which Arbor Day would not be possible. I also want to thank them for making our County one of the most beautiful ones in the Country!
On a separate note, the County is advancing a major infrastructure improvement project in the Boroughs of Rumson and Sea Bright – the reconstruction of the Sea Bright -Rumson Bridge over Shrewsbury River on County Route 520 (Rumson Road). On April 10th, I participated in the first stakeholders meeting of the Final Design Phase, along with the local officials, local residents and business owners/operators. The meeting took place in the new Sea Bright Beach Pavilion and it was very well attended.
It was an informative meetings and the project team received a lot of positive feedback for the proposed improvements. I am very pleased with the progress we are making on this much needed improvement project.
As I indicated at the previous Freeholder meeting, we anticipate that the construction documents will be ready for a public bid by late 2020 so that the construction can begin in spring 2021.
A project of this size is well beyond the recourses of any County in this state. As the Monmouth County liaison to the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, I am appreciative of my fellow NJTPA Board members for their support in advancing this project with the federal funds.
I will continue my efforts for shared services, joint projects and cooperation between various levels of governmental entities to reduce the overall costs to the taxpayers, to streamline receipt of federal funding when available, and expedite advancement of transportation improvement projects.
As always, it’s a privilege to serve as your Freeholder Director.